Well, that escalated quickly.
A few weeks ago, we were going about our daily routines, attending our regular church activities, cheering on our favorite sports teams, and walking by the toilet paper aisle at Walmart without so much as a glance. Then came the spread of coronavirus. And everything changed.
Life has been disrupted to an almost unprecedented degree. Fear and uncertainty abounds, and there are seemingly more questions than answers. Christians should not diminish the seriousness of the current situation. Let’s stay informed, do our part to be good neighbors, and cling to our hope in Christ.
We must also remember that there will be life after coronavirus. As Samwise Gamgee tells Frodo Baggins in The Lord of the Rings, “In the end, it’s only a passing thing, this shadow. Even darkness must pass. A new day will come. And when the sun shines it will shine out the clearer.”
The virus has paused our regular routines but not life itself. How should we approach this uncertain time? Yes, there will be some evenings spent binge-watching Netflix enjoying the comfort that escapism provides. At the same time, Christians should be intentional about finding healthy activities and developing helpful habits so we not only endure the crisis but come out the other side stronger and better prepared to join God’s activity in a hurting and healing world. Here are five positive opportunities for Christians during this crisis:
1. Grow Spiritually
Now is a perfect time to develop some healthy spiritual disciplines. Sadly, our quiet time is often among the first activities sacrificed on the altar of our hectic, overbooked schedules. Rather than beating yourself up for your shortcomings in this area, use the next few months to “reset” and develop some good habits.
2. Grow Intellectually
I cannot count the number of times I’ve heard somebody say, “I just don’t have time to read.” Well, now you do! Take some of the hours you would normally spend watching sports or attending weekly gatherings and commit to reading a thought-provoking book. Due to the current situation, many educational institutions and online resources are currently offering free material and classes. Choose a subject that’s unfamiliar to you and enjoy the opportunity to learn something new.
3. Grow Closer with Family
Social distancing—two words that cause introverts to cheer and extroverts to weep and gnash their teeth. Humans are created as social beings, and social distancing is difficult. Instead of lamenting the lost fellowship, use this time to grow closer with your family and those nearest to you. For most families, a regular week is consumed by a hectic schedule of overlapping activities. Now that these regular activities are on an indefinite hiatus, embrace and cherish the increased quality time together.
4. Embrace Digital Community and Become a Digital Encourager
Even for the staunchest introvert, the initial charm of social distancing will quickly wear off. Fellowship is an essential component to life. People depend on churches and other social gatherings as a vital source of support and encouragement. Not everybody is quarantined with loved ones. Over the next few months, there is going to be a lot of lonely people. Intentionally seek these people out and encourage them. Reach out on social media, call them, set up a digital hangout, play online video games together, and find other ways to fill their void of community. As the Church, let’s use all the technological tools available to ensure that no members of the body are suffering or forgotten during these difficult and lonely times.
5. Think in Terms of New Opportunities Instead of Lost Opportunities.
Instead of focusing on everything you can’t do right now, get excited about all the new things you can do. Have you ever thought about writing a book? Do it! Have you always wished you knew how to cook something tastier than boxed macaroni and cheese? Find a culinary tutorial on YouTube and learn! Has your storage room needed organizing for years? Perhaps now is finally the time! Is there an intriguing TV show that you haven’t started because you weren’t sure you had the time to commit to it? Start popping that popcorn! You never know what new hobby, passion, or talent you might discover during these unusual months.